So Close So Far

 

ANZAC Day, the day that soldiers first landed on Gallipoli April 25th 1914. The day we remember our soldiers who fought against the Turks and now fight the Taliban.  April 25th is also the day of the second most famous game of the season, Essendon vs. Collingwood. This tradition has been going on since 1995. Collingwood hold the edge with 9 wins to the Bombers 7. The one other match was a draw in the first addition.

Just before the game, I made the last changes to my Supercoach team, Redden for Giles and Ablett for Stanton. I made Stanton my captain. It would come back to haunt me. As a brave man played the last post in front of 90,000 people at the MCG and many more fans in front of their TV’ and mobile phones. I couldn’t help think about how this game was more than just another AFL fixture. This was a battle to the death. Little did I know how right I was.

It was a scrappy game from the outset, due in part to Melbourne’s incredible weather, which was able to cancel my school’s cross country! I thought that was a winter sport. Essendon were inaccurate in the first quarter with one goal and six behinds at one stage. Collingwood weren’t much better, but with Swan and Sidebottom dominating, they were in complete control. The only thing that kept Essendon in the game was Collingwood kicking in their forward line. Admittedly both teams were doing it, but it affected Collingwood the most. Hibberd pulled a hammy late in the first quarter. Collingwood lead by seven at quarter time.

In the second quarter, I was watching Supercoach live scores and the live coverage on TV. Brett Stanton, the player who was the best performing player in the first three rounds had a shocker. Being tagged by Marty Clarke, both of them were basically out of the game. It took almost half an hour between Essendon’s first and second goal. I logged onto online chat and saw at least a dozen people bemoaning why they traded Ablett for Stanton. Collingwood dominated the second quarter, but only lead by 12 points at half time.

By this time, I was cheering Stanton’s every point hoping that my Supercoach score would be saved. Likewise, Dane Swan had got over 100 points at the start of the third quarter. This quarter as it does in most matches, opened up the game. Essendon got to within one point, but Collingwood kicked away. Essendon wouldn’t die and came back leveling the scores. Collingwood kicked away again. Pendlebury was playing really well, but was second fiddle to King Swan. Stanton only scored five points for the quarter and I was resigned to think that this was my second worst trade. My worst was last week when I put Aaron Edwards in my team for Matthew Pavlich. Scored 25 points for the match and you think Stanton was a bad trade. Collingwood still by 12 points at three quarter time.

Get ready for this last quarter, seatbelt on and here we go! Beams kicked a goal early in the last quarter. “We’re gone,” I thought. Like 2009 though, Essendon stormed back. They were tired still exhausted after their win over Carlton. The sub Cory Dell’Olio kicked a much needed goal to get us to ten points. Alwyn Davey kicked his second to get us within eight points. A couple of points later, a perfect pass landed right into Davey’s hands two metres from goal. Scores are level. Sinclair kicks a behind. Some desperate play later, Brett Stanton snapped truly to give Essendon a five point lead and himself a 25 point Supercoach boost. I was daring to dream, my score was going to be good. A minute and 20 seconds left. A diving Stanton could not prevent a Jarryd Blair miscued toe poke. A video referral made more tension in my house, but it was a goal. Essendon was desperate to win after coming back go into their fifty one last time. A smother and a clearance from Marty Clarke gives Dane Swan a mark. Then the siren sounds.

I sink in despair. Well at least Stanton wasn’t a total failure.

Max (12)

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